The Pocket Guide to Whisky by Nikki Welch and Blair Bowman

Have you recently taken a keen interest in whisky? Are you frequently googling questions about whisky? Do you want to tell apart a Bell’s from a Bunnahabhain? Or are you just looking for a change from your usual bourbon? If your answer to any of these questions is yes, then let us tell you that Nikki Welch and Blair Bowman have come up with a brilliant book to guide you through your different whisky phases and answer all your questions.

The Pocket Guide to Whisky is an informative as well as fun approach to understanding whisky, not just for novices but also for connoisseurs. Almost every day, a new distillery or a new type of whisky is born in this world and learning is a constant process. This book has also introduced a unique WhiskyTubeMap, which is essentially a flavour map of whiskies that relate to each other in terms of taste. This gives readers insight into some of the popular distilleries across geographies, their distinctive styles, and whiskies in general. 

The best part about the WhiskyTubeMap is that it is based on flavours and not regions, which is unlike what most whisky writers do. In the book, Nikki Welch and Blair Bowman talk extensively about the textures and tastes of different whiskies. That aside, it is written in simple language that would make sense to everybody and not just a specific group of people. This makes it a good book to gift any liquor lover whatsoever.

The Pocket Guide to Whisky traces everything from famous scotches to exotic Japanese whiskies, as well as crafted whiskies, which are relatively new in the domain. It also captures the debate about blended whiskies and lets you know enough so you could form an opinion. Nikki Welch however, also warns you about what you should not do when it comes to whisky. She also talks a lot about which whiskies are value for money, which pairs with certain food, and the must-have whiskies for every occasion.

Now that you have some idea of what this phenomenal whisky book is about, we think you should also know the authors who have collaborated for this project. Blair Bowman is the man behind the idea of World Whisky Day which was inaugurated in 2012 and is celebrated every year, in every nation. He is a whisky columnist for Scottish Field and an editor for Scotland’s Cask and Still. Nikki Welch on the other hand has been in the wine trade for a considerable period of time. The flavour tube map is her concept which she implemented in classifying both wine and whisky. Prior to The Pocket Guide to Whisky, she had published The Pocket Guide to Wine. She has a personal app and a website which you can look up if you want to attend any of her workshop or other events.

If you are wondering how the flavour map works, it is quite simple to understand. Bowman has connected drinks that represent similar flavour profiles. This lets readers discover more about a particular dram, while also letting them decide if they want to try similar drams or a completely new one. The other advantage of the map is that it makes the book a fun read. You can now go on a whisky adventure, one stop at a time and in case you want to go to another section of the map, just change at an intersection!

Whether you are a whisky enthusiast or you just want to know more about whiskies, we recommend you grab a copy of The Pocket Guide to Whisky. And while you are at it, maybe a bottle of Scapa 16 Year Old too.